Elegant Solutions through Collaborative Problem Solving (Part V of a Five-Part Series about Clean Living)
with Guest Blogger Aline Defiglia LCSW
Two people were studying in a small, stuffy room in a University library. One person wanted the window open, one person wanted it closed. Instead of focusing on solutions, (whether the window would be opened or closed) they concentrated on needs and resolved the problem by coming up with another alternative- opening a window in the next room. This provided fresh air for the person who wanted it and, at the same time, prevented the north wind from blowing directly on the person who objected to being in a strong draft.
Is it really possible to craft a win/win method of solving many of the most entrenched interpersonal issues we face? Can we be released from….
win/lose CAPITULATION and DOMINATION?
lose/lose DENIAL and AVOIDANCE?
Collaborative problem solving requires the use of listening skills, assertion skills, and the 1-2-3 dialogue or conflict resolution method. Let’s go through the six-step process step by step. Pay attention to the common pitfalls of using this method!
Step 1: Define the problem in terms of needs, not solutions
Step 2: Brainstorm possible solutions
Step 3: Select the solution or combination of solutions that meet both parties’ needs
Step 4: Plan who will do what, where, and by when
Step 5: Implement the Plan
Step 6: Evaluate the problem-solving process and, at a later date, how well the solution turned out
The methods you have learned through this series have many uses: at home, at school, and at work. They can be used in goal setting, as a supplement to listening at a certain stage in helping relationships, in rule setting, and in individual problem solving, among others.
The time you spend learning how to communicate toxin –free is time repaid many times over!
“When you fail to use your creative, problem-solving talent, you strike at the quality of your own life.” –George Prince
The following was excerpted in part from People Skills: How to assert yourself, listen to others, and resolve conflicts by: Robert Bolton, Ph.D. This is the final article in a five part series about clean living through toxin-free communication. To read Part I about Nonviolent Communication, click here. To read Part II about Emotional Liberation, click here. To read Part III about Listening, click here. To read Part IV about the 1-2-3 Dialogue: Handling Emotions in a Conflict, click here.